High/Low Designer Collaborations – not my fave
So. During last week I tweeted that World was collaborating with Number One Shoe Warehouse:
Yes, that is a screenshot from my iPhone, I am a dickhead.
ANYWHOOZLE, as you can see I have previously had my heart broken my designer/chain store collaborations. Saben is a wonderful brand that makes gorgeous handbags. I only had one problem with their Warehouse collaboration: shit quality. I mean, I know I’m not going to get handtooled leather bathed in the tears of virgins for $59.95, but the materials were really terrible. The bags looked incredibly cheap. Against my better judgment (and keeping in mind the 12 month money back guarantee) I ordered one online. It felt yuck to the touch, which just makes no sense to me because I have bought and currently own several synthetic leather-look bags that really do feel and look like leather!
I also felt sad panda when Max collaborated with…someone (if you can remember, it was a NZ designer, please do pop it in the comments) but that was mainly because it just wasn’t to my taste/didn’t suit me. There was a lot of draped satin and edginess, as I recall, and because I am approximately the same height as a garden gnome, it was not The Go.
Well, I love shoes and I love World (from afar) and I was willing to learn to trust again. I went on the Number One Shoe Warehouse website, here and looked at the shoes. I am too scared of the might of World to borrow any images, so you’ll have to go to the website. Things looked promising. I love Dusty Springfield’s hair, so maybe shoes named after her were a great idea, I mused. Or those Edie Sedgwick ones. Admittedly I have two pairs of summer sandals, but the red ones are really lovely. Ahhhhh. New shoes.
So, after brunch on Saturday I asked my boyfriend whether he would mind if I just popped in for two seconds at the Lambton Quay store to have a briefest of brief looks. I literally just wanted to do a lap of the store and leave. Well, my first impression was “where are the shoes?”. There was very little signage in the window. Also, as it was 12pm I’d expected either a scrum of girls or an empty wasteland littered with abandoned boxes and one very sad little shoe all by itself. Instead, there were a few people in the store as usual, one of whom was trying on a veritable mountain of shoes (none of which were from the World collection).
The shoes were set out on a clean, uncluttered display and were the same colours etc as on the website. I just…didn’t feel it. I had absolutely zero desire to even pick one up. They didn’t look shoddy (although there was no effort, in my opinion, to create any fanfare or specialness around them either), they just…were. And after several days of deep contemplation, I know why.
You want cheap shoes? Number One Shoe Warehouse. Need really trampy shoes for a Halloween costume? Number One Shoe Warehouse. Need shoes to glitter as per my DIY tutorial? Number One Shoe Warehouse. Are you going to France in midwinter and realising you shouldn’t wear flip flops in Paris because the French will judge you and you won’t get into Chanel? Number One Shoe Warehouse.
Want ambience, desirability and full on XXX shoe lust? NOT Number One Shoe Warehouse. I’m sure lots of girls (and possibly a few boys) will have snagged a pair and will love them for ever and sleep with them on their pillow for several weeks, because there’s very little chance of getting World designs for $100 – $200 (except in the sales, and then only if you’re lucky). And I think there’s also a good chance that in approximately three weeks when the collaboration is sold out (if it isn’t already, although based on Saturday I will be surprised) I will regret not shaking off the Shoe Warehouseyness and buying a pair.
There’s just something not right about buying World from a place that smells like plastic and petroleum. I think my “take away”, to use awful corporate bigwig speak, is that designer items (for me at least) need that extra cache to create desire. If they’re easy to get, and cheap, I won’t really want them. If World had put those identical shoes in their own stores, I no doubt would have walked past and then stuck my greasy little face to the glass to peer at them and make grabby hands. That’s as close as I would have got, mind you.
How do you guys feel? Does bringing designer collaborations into the chain stores strike you as a very good idea, or are you confused and tormented like me?
EDIT: I saw the PPP Twitter feed which led me to http://cleo.msn.co.nz/cleonews/8294110/bag-some-kardashian-style. Yes. Hannahs are stocking bags designed by the Kardashian sisters. How do you feel about THAT?